English or History degree? Watch

anna_42
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Which has better career prospects/ more enjoyable?? I won’t be doing a History/English joint honours as I want to do French so I have to pick either History or English. I am concerned about the limited job prospects surrounding history (I do NOT want to teach), but find it really interesting. On the other hand, English would probably make me more employable (?) but I’m not really passionate about Shakespeare, Chaucer ect.

Any advice??
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LeapingLucy
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English will not make you more employable than History. There aren't any differences in employability between an English literature and a History degree whatsoever. They're both humanities - they both teach you to analyse information, formulate arguments etc. And both are traditional academic subjects. They're very much two peas in a pod.

In the vast majority of jobs in this country (obviously excluding teaching/science/medicine/dentistry type jobs) it doesn't matter what subject your degree is in. What they care about are the skills you learnt from your degree, not the degree content.

Choose whichever you think you will find more interesting & thus will be able to get a better grade in. Spend some time over the summer looking in detail at the different courses on offer at universities around the country - as you read through the specifications & the modules on offer, think about which you find more appealing.

Also, be aware that the courses on offer at different universities vary. Warwick doesn't do any medieval history; LSE focuses on modern, international history etc. I don't know about English literature but you may find that some degree courses have a compulsory medieval literature module while others don't.
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anna_42
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Thanks! 😊 If i wanted to be an editorial assistant or work at a publishing house would it be beneficial to pick English over History or wouldn’t it really matter? (Thank you for your advice! 👍)
(Original post by LeapingLucy)
English will not make you more employable than History. There aren't any differences in employability between an English literature and a History degree whatsoever. They're both humanities - they both teach you to analyse information, formulate arguments etc. And both are traditional academic subjects. They're very much two peas in a pod.

In the vast majority of jobs in this country (obviously excluding teaching/science/medicine/dentistry type jobs) it doesn't matter what subject your degree is in. What they care about are the skills you learnt form your degree, not the degree content.

Choose whichever you think you will find more interesting & thus will be able to get a better grade in. Spend some time over the summer looking in detail at the different courses on offer at universities around the country - as you read through the specifications & the modules on offer, think about which you find more appealing.

Also, be aware that the courses on offer at different universities vary. Warwick doesn't do any medieval history; LSE focuses on modern, international history etc. I don't know about English literature but you may find that some degree courses have a compulsory medieval literature module while others don't.
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University of East Anglia PG Student Rep
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Hi Anna,

I agree with much of what Lucy has said above. If you wanted to work in publishing, then I strongly suggest doing English as that's what the vast majority of people in publishing do. In fact, that is perhaps one of the only exceptions to what Lucy has said above in terms of a humanities degree qualifying you for a particular career. But that's not to say you couldn't go from a History degree too.

What Lucy has said above about history degrees is much the same in English. Different universities will offer quite different degrees.

You might like to look at UEA's course, which offers the chance to combine a more traditional English degree (Chaucer and Shakespeare etc.) with some more interdisciplinary study, as well as a module on publishing. UEA is also particularly strong on Modern Literature if that's what you lean towards:

https://www2.uea.ac.uk/study/undergr...ish-literature

Gabriel, PG Rep
(Original post by anna_42)
Thanks! 😊 If i wanted to be an editorial assistant or work at a publishing house would it be beneficial to pick English over History or wouldn’t it really matter? (Thank you for your advice! 👍)
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LeapingLucy
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(Original post by anna_42)
Thanks! 😊 If i wanted to be an editorial assistant or work at a publishing house would it be beneficial to pick English over History or wouldn’t it really matter? (Thank you for your advice! 👍)
That is probably one of the few careers where an English literature degree would be more useful. I would do some research into different English literature courses, and try to work out which ones allow you to do the least Chaucer/Shakespeare type stuff!
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Quick-use
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(Original post by anna_42)
Which has better career prospects/ more enjoyable?? I won’t be doing a History/English joint honours as I want to do French so I have to pick either History or English. I am concerned about the limited job prospects surrounding history (I do NOT want to teach), but find it really interesting. On the other hand, English would probably make me more employable (?) but I’m not really passionate about Shakespeare, Chaucer ect.

Any advice??
Hey!

I have 2 recommendations!

1 - Go to a Scottish university. At Scottish universities, in 1st and 2nd year you study 3 subjects so you could study all 3 and then decide on what degree to complete in your 3rd and 4th years! Maybe by the end of 1st year, you'll find that you only want to continue 2 of them; in that case, in your 2nd year, you could do 2 of them + a new subject. I went to the University of Edinburgh and my degree was originally French and Spanish. As my third subject, I chose Japanese. So, in 1st and 2nd years: I studied French, Spanish and Japanese. In 3rd year, I decided to switch to only Japanese

2 - Would you consider doing another language? I loved history and English Lit as well as my languages at school, but I realised that I actually wanted to do more foreign languages + lit/history combined. The thing is, depending on the university, when you study a foreign language as a degree, you basically do its literature, history, politics, philosophy etc in the foreign language as well.

So, at university I studied French, Spanish and Japanese and alongside the language classes, I also took classes on: French renaissance literature, French history, politics and economics in the 1930s+, French modernist and postmodernist literature, Spanish golden-age literature, Spanish contemporary movies, classical and contemporary Latin-American literature, Japanese and Chinese history, politics and economics from 1600s to the present day, Japanese 1960s' radical left-wing politics, classical Japanese fiction, contemporary Japanese movies as well as modern and contemporary Japanese sociology among many others.

You could mix and match the courses to your interests. I really enjoy literature so I took a lot of lit courses while my friends who enjoyed politics or philosophy etc chose to do more courses with those aspects.

I'd honestly highly recommend studying foreign languages at university. They're highly employable (probably the most employable out of other arts/humanities courses) and they encompass many features of other degrees like lit and history etc.

After graduating, I did some freelance interpreting in Japan while working at a private firm assisting medical and business clients with English translation. Now, I'm back to studying in the UK and am applying for postgraduate courses in International Relations with the hope of applying for the British diplomatic service.

My friends who did a Japanese degree have gone onto the following jobs: working in immigration offices in Japan, working in local Japanese governments such as Fukushima, Beppu and Kyoto (one such example: https://rediscoverfukushima.com/), working at the consulate general (embassy) in Edinburgh, working for the NHK (Japan's version of BBC) in both Tokyo and London, investment banking, working in Japanese translation (environmental and video games), practicing Law in Japan, working at a local Japanese sake brewery (https://www.originsake.com/?fbclid=I...0neClapyuUuqyY), lecturing at universities in Japan and the UK and so on and so forth.

My university friends who studied French and Spanish have gone onto working at the European Parliament, investment banking, tourism and so on.

Studying languages at uni gives you a lot of transferable skills. For example, I didn't just study the languages, but I also took various modules on Japan-China foreign policy, international relations, economics, politics, French immigration laws, Spanish journalism writing etc. What's more, regarding the language component of our degrees, there were modules consisting of translations of dense political documents, medical documents, historical religious documents, both classical and contemporary literary texts as well as journalistic articles among many others.
Last edited by Quick-use; 4 weeks ago
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anna_42
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Wow! Languages seem to bring some awesome opportunities 😁 I have always wanted to learn an Asian language and have tried to learn Japanese when I was a child (though admittedly rather half-heartedly). Uni seems like the ideal time to potentially take on Japanese as a third subject- this is something I haven’t seriously considered before so thank you for this awesome suggestion! Edinburgh Uni is actually one of my preferred unis, too! Would you say that there is more literature or more history involved in a language degree?
(Original post by Quick-use)
Hey!

I have 2 recommendations!

1 - Go to a Scottish university. At Scottish universities, in 1st and 2nd year you study 3 subjects so you could study all 3 and then decide on what degree to complete in your 3rd and 4th years! Maybe by the end of 1st year, you'll find that you only want to continue 2 of them; in that case, in your 2nd year, you could do 2 of them + a new subject. I went to the University of Edinburgh and my degree was originally French and Spanish. As my third subject, I chose Japanese. So, in 1st and 2nd years: I studied French, Spanish and Japanese. In 3rd year, I decided to switch to only Japanese

2 - Would you consider doing another language? I loved history and English Lit as well as my languages at school, but I realised that I actually wanted to do more foreign languages + lit/history combined. The thing is, depending on the university, when you study a foreign language as a degree, you basically do its literature, history, politics, philosophy etc in the foreign language as well.

So, at university I studied French, Spanish and Japanese and alongside the language classes, I also took classes on: French renaissance literature, French history, politics and economics in the 1930s+, French modernist and postmodernist literature, Spanish golden-age literature, Spanish contemporary movies, classical and contemporary Latin-American literature, Japanese and Chinese history, politics and economics from 1600s to the present day, Japanese 1960s' radical left-wing politics, classical Japanese fiction, contemporary Japanese movies as well as modern and contemporary Japanese sociology among many others.

You could mix and match the courses to your interests. I really enjoy literature so I took a lot of lit courses while my friends who enjoyed politics or philosophy etc chose to do more courses with those aspects.

I'd honestly highly recommend studying foreign languages at university. They're highly employable (probably the most employable out of other arts/humanities courses) and they encompass many features of other degrees like lit and history etc.

After graduating, I did some freelance interpreting in Japan while working at a private firm assisting medical and business clients with English translation. Now, I'm back to studying in the UK and am applying for postgraduate courses in International Relations with the hope of applying for the British diplomatic service.

My friends who did a Japanese degree have gone onto the following jobs: working in immigration offices in Japan, working in local Japanese governments such as Fukushima, Beppu and Kyoto (one such example: https://rediscoverfukushima.com/), working at the consulate general (embassy) in Edinburgh, working for the NHK (Japan's version of BBC) in both Tokyo and London, investment banking, working in Japanese translation (environmental and video games), practicing Law in Japan, working at a local Japanese sake brewery (https://www.originsake.com/?fbclid=I...0neClapyuUuqyY), lecturing at universities in Japan and the UK and so on and so forth.

My university friends who studied French and Spanish have gone onto working at the European Parliament, investment banking, tourism and so on.

Studying languages at uni gives you a lot of transferable skills. For example, I didn't just study the languages, but I also took various modules on Japan-China foreign policy, international relations, economics, politics, French immigration laws, Spanish journalism writing etc. What's more, regarding the language component of our degrees, there were modules consisting of translations of dense political documents, medical documents, historical religious documents, both classical and contemporary literary texts as well as journalistic articles among many others.
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anna_42
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Ok, thanks! ☺️
(Original post by LeapingLucy)
That is probably one of the few careers where an English literature degree would be more useful. I would do some research into different English literature courses, and try to work out which ones allow you to do the least Chaucer/Shakespeare type stuff!
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anna_42
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Thank you for your advice! 😊👍
(Original post by University of East Anglia PG Student Rep)
Hi Anna,

I agree with much of what Lucy has said above. If you wanted to work in publishing, then I strongly suggest doing English as that's what the vast majority of people in publishing do. In fact, that is perhaps one of the only exceptions to what Lucy has said above in terms of a humanities degree qualifying you for a particular career. But that's not to say you couldn't go from a History degree too.

What Lucy has said above about history degrees is much the same in English. Different universities will offer quite different degrees.

You might like to look at UEA's course, which offers the chance to combine a more traditional English degree (Chaucer and Shakespeare etc.) with some more interdisciplinary study, as well as a module on publishing. UEA is also particularly strong on Modern Literature if that's what you lean towards:

https://www2.uea.ac.uk/study/undergr...ish-literature

Gabriel, PG Rep
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Quick-use
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(Original post by anna_42)
Wow! Languages seem to bring some awesome opportunities 😁 I have always wanted to learn an Asian language and have tried to learn Japanese when I was a child (though admittedly rather half-heartedly). Uni seems like the ideal time to potentially take on Japanese as a third subject- this is something I haven’t seriously considered before so thank you for this awesome suggestion! Edinburgh Uni is actually one of my preferred unis, too! Would you say that there is more literature or more history involved in a language degree?
You're most welcome!

It depends on each department at each university! I can only speak for Edinburgh's departments since I haven't been to other universities. The Japanese department at Edinburgh is very diverse with components of history, literature and philosophy; the French department at Edinburgh (from what I remember) was mostly literature and philosophy in the later years but, in first year, it was half/half split between modern French history and literature ; the Spanish department at Edinburgh had a good mix of both literature and history.

Another thing is that - if you want to study French, English Lit and History at Edinburgh Uni, I'd highly recommend applying for a French and English Lit degree and choosing History as your third. The reason is because English Lit is one of the most popular degrees in Edinburgh meaning it's always full and unless it's your degree, you can't choose it as an outside course.

When I went to uni, I was set on doing French+Spanish and my outside course would be English Lit. I asked about English Lit and they said it was full which made me really sad but then I saw that Japanese was available and the rest was history :fluffy:

I'd recommend you look at the course descriptions at every uni and what they teach. English Lit at Edinburgh Uni and Glagow Uni in 1st year might be completely different, for example. Likewise with History and French etc.
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anna_42
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Thank you so much for your advice 😊
(Original post by Quick-use)
You're most welcome!

It depends on each department at each university! I can only speak for Edinburgh's departments since I haven't been to other universities. The Japanese department at Edinburgh is very diverse with components of history, literature and philosophy; the French department at Edinburgh (from what I remember) was mostly literature and philosophy in the later years but, in first year, it was half/half split between modern French history and literature ; the Spanish department at Edinburgh had a good mix of both literature and history.

Another thing is that - if you want to study French, English Lit and History at Edinburgh Uni, I'd highly recommend applying for a French and English Lit degree and choosing History as your third. The reason is because English Lit is one of the most popular degrees in Edinburgh meaning it's always full and unless it's your degree, you can't choose it as an outside course.

When I went to uni, I was set on doing French+Spanish and my outside course would be English Lit. I asked about English Lit and they said it was full which made me really sad but then I saw that Japanese was available and the rest was history :fluffy:

I'd recommend you look at the course descriptions at every uni and what they teach. English Lit at Edinburgh Uni and Glagow Uni in 1st year might be completely different, for example. Likewise with History and French etc.
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